While there are dozens of varieties of ramen all across Japan (varying in broth consistency, soup base, noodle thickness and texture, toppings, and ingredients), Tokyo manages to round them all up in one city. Hunt down your seafood-based Sapporo miso ramen, rich Hakata tonkotsu ramen from Fukuoka, and Okinawa soba without even hopping on the Shinkansen. And the best ramen in Tokyo also happens to be the best ramen in all of Japan, just look at the Michelin Guide. And if you ask us, we’d say the same. Tokyo has not only Michelin-starred ramen, but also tried-and-true ramen chains with loyal fanbases. Halal, gluten-free, or vegan in Tokyo? Don’t fret, you can still get your dose of ramen in Tokyo.
Michelin-Starred Ramen in Tokyo
Tokyoites, rejoice! There are currently three ramen restaurants in Tokyo with the coveted one Michelin star rating; they’re the only ramen shops in the world to have the honor. Check out the deets, including price range and opening hours, in our post Michelin-Starred Ramen Restaurants in Tokyo.
Tokyo Ramen Street
Tokyo Station is a hub for all types of ramen, but you don’t have to stray too far to find the best ramen in Tokyo because the station’s underground houses a little “street” of 8 top-rated ramen shops. Vegans, vegetarians, and gluten-free folks can even enjoy this ramen paradise, as one of the shops offers meatless and wheat-less ramen. Of course, there’s a diverse array of types of ramen, from tsukemen to shoyu to miso to shio, and even one shop that sells rare styles of the noodles, like a three-cheese maze-soba dish. The crowd-pleasing tonkotsu ramen is also available for those who favor richer flavors. Check out our overview of all 8 of the restaurants on Tokyo Ramen Street, located in the underbelly of Tokyo Station.
Best Ramen in Shinjuku
Another centrally-located train station, Shinjuku is the busiest train stations in the entire world. After you’ve been overwhelmed by all the flashing billboards and people, take a breather at a cozy ramen shop and revive yourself with some of the best ramen in Tokyo. The list of Best Ramen in Shinjuku includes a beloved tsukemen joint, Fuunji, where you can choose the size of your noodle portion at no extra cost! Also on the list is a hidden gem that offers ramen add-ons like cartilage and shrimp dumplings. For lovers of fermented food, there is even a ramen shop in Shinjuku that offers natto ramen!
Best Tsukemen in Tokyo
For those who love dip, dip, dipping away, tsukemen is the style of ramen to choose. With tsukemen, the cold noodles and warm broth are served in separate bowls. The ramen noodles are meant to be dipped into the thick and concentrated broth. Then, after all the noodles have been eaten, the concentrated dipping sauce can be watered down and enjoyed as a hot soup to wash down the meal. Tsukemen is a relatively modern style of ramen, which came to be in the 1960s in Tokyo and is still a popular variety of ramen in Tokyo. See our post about the Best Tsukemen in Tokyo to explore the variety of popular tsukemen shops in Tokyo, including the restaurant where the dish was invented.
Best Halal Ramen Shops in Tokyo
Looking for certified halal ramen shops in Tokyo? These Best Halal Ramen Shops in Tokyo are alcohol-free with kitchens that are up to halal standards and ingredients are all halal. Some are also equipped with prayer spaces. In addition to your basic shio ramen, shoyu ramen, and miso ramen, these halal ramen shops offer up unique dishes like soupless ramen, Chinese-style beef noodle soup, and tsukemen with “Crazy Toppings” if you’re feeling extra hungry.
Notable Ramen Shops in Tokyo
Here are some of the most famous ramen shops for all types of diners!
- Ramen Jiro
- Ichiran Ramen
- Afuri Ramen
- T’s Tantan
1. Ramen Jiro: Junk Food Ramen with a Cult Following
Ramen Jiro is for the adventurous. You’ve got to be strong-willed to finish their massive bowls of ramen (the “small” size is comparable to a large anywhere else) and their staff are known for being a little rough around the edges (working in customer service, who can blame them?). Some say Ramen Jiro has the best ramen in Japan, others say Ramen Jiro is something else altogether, a new category of Japanese food. Whatever you believe, the pilgrimage to Ramen Jiro is a must for anyone who calls themself a ramen lover. Find out more about the lore of this controversial ramen chain in The Cult of Ramen Jiro. Then, when you’re ready to brave the bowl, study How to Order at Ramen Jiro and teach yourself all the lingo and etiquette you’ll need to know to conquer the Everest of ramen.
2. Ichiran Ramen: Japan’s Most Famous Tonkatsu Ramen
Ichiran Ramen is one of those bowls of ramen that just about everyone and their mother has tried. You’ll photos of that iconic bowl all over Instagram: those strands of thin, straight noodles with a plop of spicy red sauce, the orange broth speckled with green scallion rounds, the black bowl ringed by thinly-slice chashu.
For those who are self-conscious about eating alone in public, or prefer not to use Japanese (though we’ve covered how to order in Basic Japanese Phrases for Dining Out), Ichiran Ramen is the perfect place to go, as there is minimal interaction with the staff. The seating area is reminiscent of a library carrel, with each individual seating area enclosed on three sides. In front of you, there is a bamboo curtain that lifts to allow the transfer of ramen bowls and extra toppings. Once you’ve presented your ticket from the vending machine, you receive a piece of paper (with both Japanese and English) where you can choose your toppings and other preferences. The ramen is a rich tonkotsu broth and you can choose the flavor strength, oil content, amount of garlic, amount of green onion, sliced pork, spice level, and noodle texture.
3. Afuri Ramen: Yuzu Ramen with Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, and Vegetarian Options
Can’t stomach pork or the richness of tonkotsu ramen? Fancy something a bit more refreshing and light? Afuri Ramen, another ramen chain which has been called the best ramen in Tokyo, offers their signature yuzu flavor, a type of citrus fruit that is common in Japanese cooking. The classic dish to order is Afuri’s yuzu shoyu ramen, though they also offer yuzu shio ramen and vegetarian options. They have one vegan option, too, which is a colorful bowl topped with seasonal vegetables. The vegan broth is quite light and tasty, in addition to being entirely plant-based.
4. T’s Tantan: Best Ramen in Tokyo for Vegans
If your idea of the best ramen in Tokyo is vegan ramen that won’t leave you feeling sluggish afterwards, T’s Tantan should be your go-to. Tantanmen is the Japanese version of the Sichuan dandanmian, which usually includes ground meat, Sichuan peppers, and chili oil. The version at T’s Tantan uses soy meat and a nutty sesame and peanut base for the same meaty texture and richness. Their all-vegan menu also includes other varieties of ramen.
This plant-based ramen can be enjoyed inside Tokyo Station, in Ueno, and at Narita International Airport. T’s Tantan also has additional dishes on the menu, depending on the store. The Sendai and Ueno locations, for example offer a vegan curry cheese set and soy meat mapo tofu, while the Ueno and Tokyo shops offer soy meat gyudon (Japanese beef bowl).
For more vegan options, check out the Tokyo Vegan Guide.